On this episode of What happened to…?, Erica Vella looks back at the downing of Flight PS752, which saw nearly 200 people killed when two surface-to-air missiles struck the passenger plane.
Kourosh Doustshenas met Forough Khadem in 2010 but a relationship between the couple wouldn’t blossom until years later.
“At the time she was married and I was in a different relationship and we just met socially in the community. I never really thought about any of these things that happened in my life in later years. And then we met again 2017,” he said.
“I never, ever imagined in my life I’m going to meet someone like her and fall in love and she fall in love with me. And to me, that was the best thing (that) ever happened in my life.”
Dousteshenas and Khadem had plans to get married, but before that was to happen, Khadem made the decision to travel to see her family in Iran.
“Her return ticket was to come back to Canada on Dec. 21, 2019, and the idea was then she’d come back to continue on their house hunting,” he said, but the flight ended up getting changed and she was now scheduled to depart on Jan. 8, 2020.
At the beginning of January 2020, tensions between the U.S. and Iran began to escalate following the death of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
On Jan. 3, 2020, Soleimani was killed by a U.S. airstrike as he and others travelled from Baghdad’s international airport.
Doustshenas watched the developments and he had a growing concern over his future wife’s safety.
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“I immediately asked, ‘Could you just leave now … and if it’s possible to change flight right away and leave.’ And she started looking around to see what’s the other option she has and unfortunately, there were not many options,” he said.
The couple thought time was on their side, however, after the Iranian regime announced one week of mourning and grieving.
Khadem boarded Flight PS 752 on Jan. 8 and was one of the 176 people killed after the two surface-to-air missiles struck the plane.
Fifty-five Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents were among the 176 people killed in this national tragedy.
“At the time that I saw the first pictures and I saw the carnage, I thought, ‘This is it…. No one would have survived that crash site,’” he said.
“(I felt) shock, anger and many different feelings all at the same time. … I couldn’t cry at the beginning. I was just shocked. I couldn’t even do anything.”
On this episode of What happened to…? Erica Vella speaks with Dousteshenas about his experience and the work he does with the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims. She also learns more about what the international community has done to seek accountability from Iran.
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